Reckoning (Strange Angels #5) by Lili St. Crow
Published: 27th October 2011
Publisher: Quercus (UK)
Nobody expected Dru Anderson to survive this long. Not Graves. Not Christophe. Not even Dru. She’s battled killer zombies, jealousdjamphirs, and bloodthirsty suckers straight out of her worst nightmares. But now that Dru has bloomed into a fullfledged svetocha—rare, beautiful, and toxic to all vampires—the worst is yet to come. Because getting out alive is going to cost more than she’s ever imagined. And in the end, is survival really worth the sacrifice?
Dru Anderson’s not afraid of the dark.
But she should be.
Finishing a series is such a bittersweet moment; finally, finally you get resolution. But at the price of not hearing about some of your favourite characters again, characters you have grown attached to, and care about. However, with this book I didn't have time to mourn the end of what is one of my favourite series'. It was so action packed, full of chases and explosions and 'on the run' scenes--as I've come to expect from this author.
I've said it before but I do love a story where the characters are on the run; it's exciting, faster-paced and I think it makes a story flow well. You never get the impression with this series that anything in it is forced, orchestrated by the author to create drama or angst, it's so realistic that you feel as though she is no more than a narrator, committing to paper a tale that actually occurred.
The mythology of this series is one of my favourites of any series, it's true Urban Fantasy with different types of vampires (not all of which are 'good') and other creatures which come together to create rich and dense storylines. Whilst some of our favourite characters from earlier books had brief appearances, this plot revolves almost completely around Dru, Ash, Graves and of course the ever-present and ridiculously swoon-worthy Christophe.
I felt we got a lot of resolution in this book, one particular issue is dealt with pretty much fully, and Dru has become more accepting of herself, her abilities but also her limitations. However there is a lot of room for reader-interpretation, for you to develop Dru's story past the end of the book, to reach your own conclusions and decide for yourself what happens when Reckoning's final page is turned. One area where this is especially prevalent is the love triangle between Dru, Graves and Christophe. Each character fully expresses their feelings and positions by the end of this novel, and yet, uniquely, it's hard to decide what has actually happened. I know I have my own interpretation of what has happened, and would, in the future occur (based strongly on my own undying love for Christophe) and I know that other people will feel differently from me. This is such a complex relationship, so many factors are in play and neither of Dru's options are completely clear cut. But this is something I like, St. Crow gives you enough to feel satisfied, but leaves enough to interpretation that you can shape the novel to suit your own thoughts.
One thing I love about St. Crow is that she defies traditional YA stereotypes in her novels. Yes, they're aimed at teens, but they're more like her adult series' (only with the sexual content made appropriate for a younger age group) in the sense they're full of ambiguity, hard choices, broken characters and ultimately, they are not intended to end perfectly. People are perfectly entitled to have a problem with this, and if this is you, if you like everything to end nicely, wrapped up with a bow and presented to you in a way that you know exactly what happened and are happy with it, this series is not for you. However, if you're someone that enjoys putting your own spin on a story, and enjoy something that is realistic, is gritty and dark and contains heartbreak, full-on action and unanswered questions then this is a series for you.
And if you're angry about the ending, I recommend you read Lili's post here, or read it anyway, it's interesting and if you think like me it'll confirm what you thought when you finished this series!